After Fraser Gehrig tore strips off James Brayshaw and Garry Lyon, current and former Triple M stars have leapt to the station’s defence.
After Fraser Gehrig tore strips off James Brayshaw and Garry Lyon, current and former Triple M stars have leapt to the station’s defence.

Radio stars appeal after interview’s dark turn

Current and former Triple M personalities have defended the station and its AFL coverage after criticism from footy great Fraser Gehrig.

Gehrig, who retired in 2008 after playing 260 games for West Coast and St Kilda, spoke to Triple M on Friday night as Geelong beat the Saints when his interview took a dark turn.

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AFL commentator James Brayshaw has told a story numerous times over the years about he and Garry Lyon running into the St Kilda team at a pub on their Mad Monday, where they were confronted by Gehrig.

"He wasn't seeing the humorous side of anything we were going with on-air that season," Brayshaw said of the night in question. "And I was trying to explain to him that all that came from (Sam Newman) and I'd had nothing to do with it.

"And he was saying, 'We can make this easy or hard. I can just take you outside and snap you in half - how does that sound?'"

Specifically, Gehrig had an issue with the 3-2-1 votes the Triple M commentary team used to give out for the worst-on-ground after a game. On Friday night he spoke candidly about how he believes that deeply affected players' mental health.

"Triple M, to be honest, in their heyday, and I'm not trying to be rude saying this, when you did your 3-2-1 worst players on ground it had an effect on things like depression. And a lot of the guys who were doing those calls have had depression in their lives - and I don't think it helped," Gehrig said.

"Brayshaw, Lyon and these sorts of blokes, at the time I thought, 'Go get stuffed'. You know, they've had a few beers and they want to come up and try to be heroes and I told them (where to go). So I'll stand by that."

Brayshaw and Lyon weren’t on Gehrig’s Christmas card list.
Brayshaw and Lyon weren’t on Gehrig’s Christmas card list.

AFL journalist Damian Barrett - who still works for Triple M - was in the box with Gehrig on Friday night as the 45-year-old had his say. He understood and appreciated Gehrig's view, but wanted to defend the way Triple M covered footy in the era the former St Kilda forward was talking about.

He also said Triple M hasn't done the 3-2-1s for worst on ground in seven or eight years.

"It was an irreverent way of covering a game of footy. I can 100 per cent tell you a lot of footballers loved the negative 3-2-1s," Barrett told former journalist turned entrepreneur Craig Hutchison on their podcast The Sounding Board.

"They would finish a game of footy, get in the car and sometimes they would love it if their mates were in the 3-2-1s.

"I don't think it was ever done in a vindictive, malicious way."

Even though he didn't see anything untoward with it, Barrett said it was important to acknowledge Gehrig's opinion.

"It wasn't, in the eyes of the people delivering the 3-2-1s, ever a serious way of criticising people," Barrett said.

"Having said that you need to factor in that Fraser Gehrig thought it was and on top of that, I reckon it's seven or eight years now that it hasn't been done.

"I remember at the time … when we were told at Triple M to stop it, I didn't say anything, but I remember thinking, 'That's a shame'. But I'm so glad we did make that decision seven or eight years ago.

"We need to take in Fraser Gehrig's views."

The G-Train was a scary sight in full flight.
The G-Train was a scary sight in full flight.

Hutchison - the boss of SEN radio who hosts a show on the station every Saturday - was involved with Triple M years ago, and joined Barrett in defending the station's coverage. He said the Triple M team led the way in talking players up rather than criticising them.

"I wanted to defend the on-air guys and others that weren't. I feel, in that era, and still today … they were the pioneers of talking players up, not down," Hutchison said on The Sounding Board.

"I feel that team spent a lot of time talking players up and getting people excited about them and never really talked down to them. I just wanted to defend those mentioned.

"If you listened to Fraser you'd think they were sitting there talking the game down. They weren't. It was always a bit of fun, tongue in cheek."

However, Hutchison also reflected on the need to accept Gehrig's position and empathise with any other players who felt the same way.

"Having said all that, as the world progressed and we all understood these things better than we did at the time, they (Triple M) were the first to leave it (the 3-2-1s) behind," Hutchison said. "The first time they got anyone … react to it negatively, they left it behind.

"I take what Fraser's saying to be true, I just wanted to defend that it was intended to be lighthearted and when we got a little bit more awareness, it was left behind.

"As time goes on there are things you do you realise weren't pitch-perfect at the time and that's one of the evolutions of the world."

 

Originally published as Triple M appeal after interview's dark turn